Saturday 15 December 12.45pm
Newcastle United 1 (Ba 51)
Manchester City 3
Watch Match Highlights Here
I wasn’t surprised to see both Alan Pardew and some of his players saying there were plenty of positives to take out of this game but I think when you are two points above relegation, no points equals no positives.
Yes the second half was so much better and Cisse’s shot clearing the bar just after Ba had pulled one back, could have led to a different final outcome but what happened in the first half?
Newcastle actually opened well and could have taken the lead after only a couple of minutes when Cisse’s shot brought out an excellent save from Hart. What then happened is open to interpretation.
Basically, Newcastle hardly got a kick for thirty odd minutes and could have been five or six down. City were the proverbial hot knife through butter as they passed it through our defence with ominous ease.
There were suspicions of offside as Yaya Toure’s excellent ball put in Nasri behind Santon and Aguero couldn’t miss. Ten minutes on the clock and it was looking a long afternoon.
The next twenty plus minutes were shocking as Newcastle chased shadows and when they did get possession the lack of belief in players such as Jonas was absolutely shocking.
Ironically, after taking United apart time after time on the deck, it was a bog-standard goal from a corner that was headed down for a tap-in. As the visitors had four or five players smaller than our shortest combatant, it beggars belief that not only do we find it impossible to score from flag kicks but end up conceding as well.
Fair play to the visitors because they came to take us apart, fielding Aguero, Tevez, Silva and Nasri, plus the excellent Yaya Toure behind them. They probably did play really well in that first half but Newcastle didn’t exactly make it difficult for them.
Yes I was glad that we didn’t have a repeat of that shocker of a first half but I do struggle to take the 100% improved second half as a total positive – I can’t avoid keep asking myself why they didn’t play like that in the opening forty five minutes?
Everybody I spoke to at half-time was just resigned to more of the same and somebody arriving late wouldn’t believe it if you tried to tell how desperate we had been, if they only watched the second half.
United absolutely battered them and had more possession, corners and shots in that second half than the visitors, only on second half goals were they equal.
Every player, even Williamson, looked to have the belief that was missing first half. Newcastle laid a bit of a siege at times and after six minutes of the restart Colo hooked the ball back into the box and Demba Ba placed his header beyond Hart.
What seemed only seconds later the ball was played into Cisse’s feet and he turned on the edge of the box with all the goal to aim at but put it over. Newcastle were so much in the ascendancy at that point that if it had gone in it would only have been a case of whether or not we went on to win it.
Cisse was having easily one of his best games from wide right as he kept the ball really well, while Anita must be wondering what on earth is going on as he has played just about every position apart from goalkeeper since his arrival. Fair play to him because he is showing character improving his level of play despite the shocking run we are on.
Newcastle put it up to them but once again we find it really hard to score a scruffy goal or manage anything from set-pieces. The effort was all too clear and City were wilting before our eyes, only for one of their sporadic counter-attacks to land the killer blow, a cutback to Yaya Toure saw his shot fortunate to creep through Krul’s legs though the keeper had no chance with where it was placed.
It was always going to be hard today but yet again we haven’t seen Newcastle manage to put a whole ninety minutes together and we are continuing to pay the price. In a fair few matches you can point to spells or even whole halves as we had today where our players have put some decent play together.
Next up at home against Harry Redknapp’s bottom placed QPR, surely there can only be one outcome?
Newcastle United: Krul, Simpson (Ferguson 82), Williamson, Coloccini, Santon, Perch, Tiote (Marveaux 75), Anita, Cisse (Shola 79), Ba, Gutierrez
Unused Subs: Elliot, Tavernier, Nigirimana, Sammy Ameobi
Manchester City: Hart, Zabaleta, Kolo Toure, Nastasic, Clichy, Garcia, Yaya Toure, Nasri (Kolarov 37 (Dzeko 72)), Aguero, Silva, Tevez (Lescott 79)
Ref: Andre Marriner
Crowd: 49,579 (2,718 Man.City)
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